Celebrity hair stylist
When he’s not chopping the tresses of the Capital’s A-listers, this hairdressing master is relaxing in his apartment – one that strikes the perfect balance between homely and hard-edged.
One of four apartments set within a particularly striking noughties-built block, Paul’s London pad is a masterclass in industrial chic: rough-edged concrete walls and ceilings are a stark utilitarian canvas, while warm wood floors, bright works of art and cool retro furnishings counter the concrete, making the space as homely as it gets – and therein lies the mastery. The building was designed by Anglo-Dutch architects de Rijke Marsh Morgan (dRMM) and started life on a brown field site flanking another bold industrial construction – imposing railway arches. “It would probably be classed as Brutalist” Paul explains. “And it won a Stirling prize for architecture, which gives it a certain cachet.”
The hair stylist has lived here for the last 13 years, sharing his split-level home first with his daughters and now with his business partner. I’m intrigued to know if he did anything structurally with the apartment when he moved in. “I bought the flat as a shell and so divided and installed the bathroom and kitchen as well as creating flexible bedroom spaces,” he reveals. Another flexible space is a first-floor mezzanine, which, I discover, is Paul’s go-to spot for home comfort: “There’s a squidgy soft sofa and footstool there that envelops you after a hard day at work.”
Clearly a man that appreciates cosiness, I wonder what the appeal of a new-build was, as opposed to a period property. “Each has its pros and cons” he tells me, “and I think each has its own unique character. Some people think that because a place is new it can’t be homely and warm. I don’t agree with that at all. A home is to do with how you live in a space. The property has to have conviction whether it’s old or new… it has to be genuine.”
Paul describes his interiors style as “eclectic elegance”. He explains, “I like mixing thirties and forties pieces with modern textures, juxtaposing them with concrete walls and walnut floors. I like going with more of a luxe look against the hard texture, and although I like minimalism, I’m too untidy to cope with it!” There are certainly some happy conflicts here: a comforting Buddha statue sits cross-legged atop an unforgivingly industrial kitchen counter, while the clean lines of the patio doors reveal an untamed and urban outside space. I spot a few design classics, such as the iconic Eames leather lounge chair and matching ottoman, and I wonder where Paul sources his furniture – undoubtedly, he has a really good eye. “I often look at different sale rooms or online. Some of the furniture I have bought is from America and Holland. I love my dining chairs – I collected them from all over and they were designed by Cel Brackmann. Also, Pinterest is one of the best ways to search for smaller, more unusual brands or pieces,” he divulges.
One of the apartment’s main attractions for Paul is its huge double height windows, which afford the property a bucket-load of natural light. It must be such a pleasure to sit here and soak up the sun when it appears. “It’s always amazing having natural light in a living space,” he enthuses. “I’m very lucky that I’m not overlooked and that I look out into the garden. I don’t have curtains in the living area: that makes the outside and inside merge.” Paul has achieved a real sense of harmony here: the apartment’s shrewd mix of old and new with its funky furniture older than the building itself; the juxtaposition of the cold concrete and the warm walnut; the perfectly balanced touches of luxury in an otherwise stark setting… It helps to have a creative mind. “I believe it should be an inside and out thing when giving synergy to a home” he states. “Also, I feel your home should be about your style and not about fashion as things move on quickly and can look dated.” I’m in no doubt that here, he’s created a classic.
Paul Edmonds, 217 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, SW3 (020 7589 5958; pauledmonds.com)